Constitutive and alternative splicing of pre-mRNAs from multiexonic genes controls the diversity of the proteome; these precisely regulated processes also fine-tune responses to cues related to growth, development, and stresses. Small-molecule inhibitors that perturb splicing provide invaluable tools for use as chemical probes to uncover the molecular underpinnings of splicing regulation and as potential anticancer compounds.
Here, we show that herboxidiene (GEX1A) inhibits both constitutive and alternative splicing. Moreover, GEX1A activates genome-wide transcriptional patterns involved in abiotic stress responses in plants. GEX1A treatment -activated ABA-inducible promoters, and led to stomatal closure. Interestingly, GEX1A and pladienolide B (PB) elicited similar cellular changes, including alterations in the patterns of transcription and splicing, suggesting that these compounds might target the same spliceosome complex in plant cells.
Our study establishes GEX1A as a potent splicing inhibitor in plants that can be used to probe the assembly, dynamics, and molecular functions of the spliceosome and to study the interplay between splicing stress and abiotic stresses, as well as having potential biotechnological applications.